It’s time to say goodbye to unrealistic resolutions. This year, let’s start off right with small changes that you can keep up with to achieve eco-friendly living all year long! Going plastic free might not happen overnight, but simple switches to your everyday life can- like choosing eco-friendly cookware. Been wondering how to be more eco-friendly, or want to go plastic free but aren’t quite sure where to begin? Start with these five small changes.
The jury’s out on New Years Resolutions and surprise surprise, they don’t usually stick. In fact, less than 10% of resolutions actually make it through the year. So we’re saying goodbye to lofty resolutions and hello to small changes for eco-friendly living this January. Instead of expecting overnight change or suddenly going 100% plastic free, join us in working towards little switches that lead to big change. Studies show that it takes about 60 days to create a habit (or break an old one). So we’ve picked five small changes for eco-friendly living that you can make a habit of in no time.
First, let’s talk about how to make these eco-friendly living habits stick. Psychologists tell us that habits work based on a loop: cue, routine, reward. For example, you look in the refrigerator and see there’s not much food. That cues you that it’s time to go to the store. The routine is grocery shopping, and the reward is filling your pantry back up with groceries for the week. This is a habit that many of us have, and it’s well established. If you wanted to add an eco-friendly living habit related to grocery shopping into your life, the best way to make it stick will be to build it into the existing habit loop. Let’s use this simple system to make the eco-friendly living habits below stick!
Five Small Changes for Successful Plastic Free + Eco-Friendly Living This Year
Bring your own bags to the grocery store
The average American household brings home nearly 1,500 plastic bags. Per year. So while it may seem like a tiny step, committing to bringing reusable bags when you go to the grocery store is a giant step in going plastic free. Some states or towns already have small bag fees for using single-use bags. But most of the time, there’s no consequence or reward for bringing your own bags. Many of us often forget to bring plastic free reusable bags, even if we own a ton of them! To make this plastic free habit stick, find a way to make it part of your shopping routine. Here are a few ideas: Leave a note next to your keys that reminds you to grab your reusable bags before leaving the house. Or, store your reusable bags in your car, and make returning them to the car the final step in unpacking groceries. Still find yourself forgetting? Keep a stowable reusable bag in your purse or glove box all the time to ensure you’re going plastic free every trip!Go plastic free in the kitchen with eco-friendly cookware
Instantly tossing every piece of plastic in your house may be a lofty goal for this year, so start with just one section of your home to commit to eco-friendly living. Beginning with a plastic-free kitchen is a great place to start. When you put so much effort into buying eco-friendly and organic groceries, what you store them in and cook them with is just as important. Plastic cookware can leach harmful chemicals with dangerous effects into your food. Even cookware that’s BPA-free can contain these dangerous ingredients. Just in a slightly different form. The good news? Swapping to eco-friendly cookware is a habit you’ll only need to change once. Look for eco-friendly cookware that’s made from natural, biobased materials such as bamboo. And to be sure your plastic free cookware is as committed to eco-friendly living as you are, make sure it’s Certified from a sustainable source. Look for plastic free food storage such as these metal boxes to complete the plastic free switchover.
Quite like plastic shopping bags, single-use straws are small items that have a big weight on eco-friendly living. Plastic straws are among the top ten most common items found in the ocean. This makes them a huge contributor to ocean pollution, with detrimental effects to aquatic life (another great reason to go plastic free!). One reason that plastic straws are especially detrimental? Because they’re so small and lightweight, they don’t make it through mechanical recycling sorters. They also blow out of trash cans or garbage trucks easily. This makes it easy for them to get into our water sources. More often than not, that’s where they stay. So be part of the plastic free change with a small commitment this year: saying no to single-use straws. To make this plastic free goal a habit, practice adding “no straw, please” to your order any time you ask for a drink. This adds your new eco-friendly living habit right into a common cue- ordering a drink! Need an extra reminder? Bring a reusable straw with you and set it on the table if you’re eating in a restaurant. This serves as your visual cue- and gives you the perfect plastic free alternative to that straw you’re saying no to!Eat meatless one day a week
Going completely plant-based isn’t right for everyone, but introducing more meals that skip meat into your week is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and improve eco-friendly living. Instead of pledging to go entirely vegan or vegetarian, start with eating plant-based just one day a week. Many choose to follow a specific day of the week- like Meatless Mondays. Find the routine that works best for you. If you can, look for recipes that are plastic free too, meaning they don’t use any pre-packaged ingredients. Need plant-based inspiration for your eco-friendly living? Try this simple and delicious tortilla soup recipe. With shredded jackfruit that looks (and tastes) like chicken, you won’t even miss the meat!Use biobased cleaning supplies
This small change is a great way to move towards eco-friendly living with sustainable home products! Often, regular cleaning supplies contain harmful ingredients that can be unfit for your family or pets. And they may be adding to the pollution of soil and water systems. Biobased products are items that are made from naturally found materials, and typically offer eco-friendly products that are an alternative to materials that require the use of non-renewable resources. Want to learn more about the USDA biobased certification? Read this. And if you can, look for plastic free biobased products that use compostable or recycled containers when you’re shopping for your supplies.
Committing to eco-friendly living is a process, not an immediate switch. Starting with these small changes and sustainable living tips will have you on the path to plastic free green living in no time!
Get on the right track with eco-friendly cookware.